Why We Love Speeding

I love speeding. As a born and bred New Jerseyan, I had to learn that keeping up with traffic on the parkway meant doing 90 mph or better.

It quickly became a drug to me. Like that X-Files episode where victims of a government experiment had to travel at increasingly faster speeds or their heads would explode, anything less than 75 makes my brain itchy.

Plus, speeding feels like a game. Weaving in and out of traffic, gauging the gap between the end of a lane and an accelerating semi, all of these things make speeding one of my favorite hobbies.

In case you're wondering, yes I'm a Christian and yes I'm talking about the joys of intentionally breaking the law. You're probably also wondering when such bold-faced defiance will earn me my rightful comeuppance. Wonder no more: just last weekend, I got my first ticket.

I was doing 22 over, in a construction zone, with workers present. That's four points on my license and a hefty fine for a single-income family. Thankfully, my ever gracious wife was not furious. Her thought was, "I knew this would happen eventually. I just hope you learn from it." Learning from this, to her, meant cooling it on the speeding. But that's not what I learned.

I don't mean it still only takes me three hours to drive across Ohio when it should take four. No, I set my cruise control now like a good boy. I don't hunt for open lanes or tailgate those annoying law-abiders anymore.

Instead, I've found a remarkable sense of tranquility by cruising in the right lane. What I thought was a game was actually really stressful, and it turns out the exit lane from the competitive traffic fray is quite peaceful.

Add to that the bonus 7 mpg I get for dropping my speed and it would seem that someone had orchestrated this little lesson for my best interest. I should be happy; but I'm not. I'm furious with God.

I expected misery. I expected to loathe this cruel, divine correction. I wanted to bitterly drink the cup that was given me and complain about it for the rest of my life.

I didn't expect blessing. I didn't expect that I would actually enjoy being released from the bonds of this unlawful behavior. I wanted to hate doing the right thing. And from that, I've learned how much I desire to do evil.

It reminds me of the story of Jonah. Many of us know him as an unwilling but ultimately repentant prophet. But we forget that he was not a meek man like Moses who was simply afraid to speak or preach. Jonah was belligerent and bitter at God:
Isn't this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. (4:2)
He wasn't hiding from God; he was trying to prevent God's goodness from reaching his enemies. And he craved evil so much that he preferred his own death to seeing those he hated being spared it.

That's a picture of all of us. Having a story that explains our actions doesn't make us helpless robots to our past. We make the decision to act, and we choose between what's right and what's wrong.

Maybe we just make mistakes sometimes or maybe we'll do anything to hide from something. Because while some people try to say that we're all inherently good and some Christians try to say that we're all meant to live a victorious life, they both convey the same message: none of us want to admit that we're evil.

I may not be able to convince you to stop speeding, but I can at least help you understand why you really do it.

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